Sperm motility in fishes. I. Effects of temperature and pH: a review

Cell Biol Int. 2005 Feb;29(2):101-10. doi: 10.1016/j.cellbi.2004.11.021. Epub 2005 Jan 16.


Sperm motility is a key factor in allowing us to determine semen quality and fertilizing capacity. Motility in semen is mainly controlled by K+ in salmonids, and probably also in sturgeons, and by osmotic pressure in other freshwater and seawater fish species, but other factors, such as concentration of surrounding metabolites and ions (Ca2+, Mg2+, etc.), pH and temperature also influence motility characteristics. In the present study, we have mainly reviewed and summarized the effects of temperature and pH on the motility of spermatozoa in three fish species: salmonids, cyprinids and sturgeons. Data in the literature show that motility, fertilizing ability and velocity of spermatozoa, as well as the duration of the motility period, depend on the temperature of the assay medium and also of that of the brood fish holding tank. In contrast, the pH of the swimming medium, and thus the intracellular pH of spermatozoa, has less influence on sperm motility parameters in cyprinids, salmonids and sturgeons.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyprinidae / physiology
  • Fishes / physiology*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Salmonidae / physiology
  • Sperm Motility*
  • Temperature